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Developing production guidelines for growing high-value specialty melons for domestic and export markets

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Jovicich, E. and Wittl, H. (2018) Developing production guidelines for growing high-value specialty melons for domestic and export markets. Project Report. State of Queensland.



Queensland production of melons (Cucumis melo L.), typically rockmelon and honeydew fruits, is seasonal and practiced entirely outdoors. The horticulture industry has limited knowledge about using protected cropping as a technology to mitigate the effects of climate variability in melon crops. Some new specialty melon types now available in Australia require favourable environmental conditions and specific growing practices in order to obtain fruits with good visual and eating quality. Adoption of protected cropping could be a forthcoming technology to add diversity in fruit appearance, flavour and aroma, and guarantee consistent high quality of melons in domestic markets and potential export markets in Asia and NZ. This Agri-Science Queensland Innovation Opportunity project supported primary crop evaluations that contributed to critical information for the development of guidelines to produce specialty melons with protective cropping systems in the tropics. Three melon crops grown between September 2017 and June 2018 tested 21 cultivars of fruit types new to Australia. The management of crops followed specific agronomic practices for soilless production and plant canopy management. Crop performance and visual and eating quality were assessed and a range of desired attributes were identified for rind colour and net patterns, flesh colour, texture and shelf life. There were examples of cultivars with remarkable sweet flesh (total soluble solids up to 16 °Bx) in large fruits. A group of promising cultivars had total marketable yields that ranged from 5.5 to10 kg/m2 with fruit weights that ranged from 0.9 to 2.0 kg/fruit, and where total soluble solids ranged from 12 to 16 °Bx. The outcome of this work prompted a small group of industry stakeholders to consider the development of a melon export program. A subsequent granted project under the Growing Queensland's Food Exports pilot program aims to initially send high quality fruit samples to Asian markets. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is providing support with research and development on melon agronomy practices.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Corporate Creators:Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Keywords:Final report Agri-Science Queensland Innovation Opportunity
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural economics
Plant culture > Harvesting, curing, storage
Plant culture > Food crops
Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture > Culture of individual fruits or types of fruit > Melons
Live Archive:05 Nov 2018 04:47
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:44

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